2017 Nutrition Trends

What’s Cooking in Nutrition – Top Trends for 2017

In the fast paced, information driven world of today new information is just a click away. Your colleagues, friends & family keep whipping out new trends & buzzwords that are all the rage but what do they mean & what’s involved? Lets take a look at what’s hot & what’s not, in the realm of nutrition, for this year.

Healthy Eating = Ethical Eating

Knowing where your food comes from, how it’s made & how it’s grown is becoming increasingly important. People are wanting to return to naturally reared animals & minimally processed products. From happy hens who roam farms, scratching for worms & laying happy eggs to grass fed cattle, free from hormones, its becoming increasingly important that animals are treated in a humane way.

Grass-fed is the way to go

This is a concept more complicated than first meets the eye but in a nutshell, grass-fed beef, or any other meat for that matter, means that the animal ate grass. This is considered the animals’ natural diet. The alternative, cheaper & readily more available option is grain-fed & that means that animals are fed, an unnatural diet of grains such as corn & soya, which results in a fatter animal that is ready for slaughter quicker.

It does go beyond the animal’s diet, however. It is also about the fact that grass-fed animals are left to roam freely & graze. Their grain-fed counter parts get raised in concentrated animal feeding operations where the animals don’t have space to roam, they are fed hormones to make them grow quicker & given antibiotics to help them survive the sub standard conditions. This, again, goes beyond the animals’ quality of life, these practices also determine the make up & nutritional content of the stake on your plate.

As it happens, ‘you are what you eat’ applies as much to cows as it does to us.

Grass-fed beef is usually leaner, it contains less fat, as well as fewer calories. The biggest difference lies in the omega-3 fatty acid content, research has found grass-fed beef to contain up to 5 times more omega 3s than grain fed. Grass-fed beef has also been found to contain more beta-carotenes, Vitamin E, Potassium, Iron, Zinc, Phosphorous & Sodium. It all comes down to eating real food…that eats real food.

Organic foods are still Growing

The demand for organically produced fruits, vegetables as well as dairy & even meats continues to grow. Organic food is grown without pesticides & artificial fertilizers, it is not irradiated to make it last longer & does not contain growth hormones, antibiotics & is not fed animal byproducts.

Organically grown animals are not given genetically modified (GMO) feeds, disease is prevented by natural means & they need to have access to outdoor space. Therewith lies its appeal. An added bonus is that organic farming is also more environmentally friendly. Organic foods have also been found to be richer in certain vitamins & minerals.

The best way to put these trends into practice is a weekend outing, with the whole family, to the numerous farmer’s markets popping up all over the city. Here are a few popular options in Gauteng: 

  • Irene Village Market at the Big Red Barn (7 Nelson rd Olifantsfotein; www.irenemarket.co.za), is on every 1st & last Saturday of the month, from 9h00 to14h00 its become increasingly popular over the years & attracts quite the crowd so it may be worth while to go early to ensure you get what you are after.
  • The Bryanston Organic & Natural Market on Thursdays, Saturday & Public Holidays from 9h00 to 15h00… this is one of the original markets in Joburg & is now somewhat of an institution.
  • Fourways Farmers Market is on every Sunday from 9h00 to 16h00, opposite Montecasino on Willian Nicol Drive (www.ffmarket.co.za), it’s really vibey & has many food stalls so there is something for everyone, & a great alternative for the traditional Sunday lunch out.
  • Cowhouse Market is on every Saturday & Sunday from 10h00 to 16h00, & is situated near Silver Lakes golfing estate. Its a relatively new market & there is a wide array of bits & bobs.

Minimum food waste

Ugly food is in. Perfectly shaped fruit & vegetables simply do not make sense when that means that their imperfect counterparts get thrown away. Food waste in the name of perfect food goes against the moral grain when more than 800million people across the globe go to bed hungry.

It is becoming increasingly unacceptable for supermarkets as well as consumers to expect perfectly round tomatoes & citrus, cucumbers without kinks & perfectly shaped carrots & potatoes. There is a growing movement advocating for a decrease in the amounts of food that is tossed or lost due to its lack of aesthetic appeal.

Sub-Saharan Africa still has one of the highest child malnutrition rates in the world & so it makes little sense that just over 40% fresh produce grown is last. This means that more than 40% of produce is abandoned or discarded during harvesting, transport or processing. A further +/-10% of produce is wasted, meaning it is thrown away by vendors or consumers because of damage or reached or nearing expiry dates. Essentially, only about half of the food produced is actually eaten. In light of these astounding stats, there is a growing movement towards being a conscious consumer.

An easy way to join this movement is to buy your fresh produce from green grocers who bring it in fresh off the farms as apposed to from supermarkets who require uniform sized produce, that is blemish free. Another benefit of green grocer shopping is that you can purchase produce per unit & so you are free to buy the exact number of fruit you require for your family, thus minimizing the chance of food going off in your fridge & unnecessary expenditure.

There is an undoubted move in food trends towards becoming more conscious of not just what we eat but also where it comes from, how it was produced & what we choose to support by buying the food we do. There are numerous, complicated & detailed reasons why we shop the way we do.

These new & emerging trends provide further points to ponder & consider in our quest for what is best to eat.

AUTHOR: Slava De Gouveia RD (SA)

About the author:

Tanya has been providing dietary guidance since 2009 as a registered dietician licensed in South Africa. Her goal is to help patients understand the connection between diet and diagnosis for improved nutritional well being.

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